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How to get around London

When you arrive in London you will realise that this is a very (very!) big city, because of this you will need to know you can get around.

To start you want to download the ‘citymapper’ app, this app works out the best way to go between places and normally lets you know how much the journey will cost you plus the time it will take. It also shows many options, as sometimes the first option isn’t always the best for you. 

Tube or Train

The tube is going to be the public transport you use the most, you need a contactless chip card, apple/google pay etc to use the tube. When you arrive at the station, tap your card on the yellow pad at the gate and it will open (be aware if you have a foreign card, you may be charged a FX fee). You can also buy an oyster card from a train station ticket machine, you can then top this up as needed. 

For the train it is the same deal, just be aware that trains generally go further, and if you go past the M5 you will most likely be out of the ‘pay as you go area’ and you will need to buy a ticket in advance. 

The fare cost will vary depending on how many zones you go through starting from £2.50, but there are daily caps if you do use the tube multiple times in one day. 

The new Elizabeth Line – with special one off Oyster Card


The Bus is super handy around the city when moving shorter distances, and also you get to go on one of the classic London Red Buses. The Bus works in the same way as the Tube, you need a contactless card and you tap this on the yellow pad. Also note you do not need to tap off the bus. 

The bus costs £1.65, with a daily cap of £4.95.

View from the front of the double decker bus


You will notice that there are many bike stands around the city, these are the Santander Bikes, or you will hear Londoners call them Boris Bikes as Boris (the now ex Prime Minister) was the London Mayor at the time that they were launched. 

You can hire a bike via the machine that is at the bike stop or thought their app. The app isn’t the best so if your here for a short amount of time it is easier to just use the machine. You do not need a helmet so just grab the bike and go! 

The hire fee is £1.65 per 30mins. 

Bike alternates/Scooters 

On a similar note to the above, London currently has many alternate bike options, these are normally electric bikes and some have 10mins for free or first ride for free. You can normally see these around the Boris bikes or Tube stations. There are also many scooter options, however these are mainly in the suburbs. 

The cost of these can vary and you normally need to download an app to use them.


Like everywhere you can use Uber. This can be handy later at night, or going between destinations that are not so well connected. 

You can get a price indication on the app and you need the app to book a Uber.

Black Cab

The Black Cab is unique to the UK, they are the taxi of London and are known for the hard exams and the knowledge test the drivers need to pass.

To get a Black Cab you can wave them down, it is a metered service and can be similar prices to Uber. 

Thames Clipper/UberBoat

London that has the Thames River running through it, the Clipper is a great way to travel and see the city. There are many piers along the river where you can jump on the boat. The best way to pay is via contactless and again you will see the yellow card reader. 

The clipper starts from £4.80

Westminster Pier


Now I have to remind you, London is very walkable, you will be surprised how close some places are to each other, it always pays to check the walking distances as sometimes it is the same as public transport.

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